Oregon QB Justin Herbert out with fractured collarbone
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert is out “for a while” because of a fractured collarbone, coach Willie Taggart said Monday.
Taggart also said at his weekly news conference that junior linebacker Kaulana Apelu is out for the season with an ankle fracture.
Herbert, running back Royce Freeman and receiver Dillon Mitchell, all starters for the Ducks, were injured in the first half of Oregon’s 45-24 victory Saturday over California. Taggart did not mention the other players by name but said “everyone else is day-to-day.”
Herbert left the game near the end of the first quarter after a 7-yard touchdown run. He finished 7-of-8 for 81 yards and also had a touchdown pass.
Backup quarterback Taylor Alie left the game with an injury during the fourth quarter, paving the way for third-string quarterback Braxton Burmeister to make his first college appearance.
The Ducks (4-1, 1-1) host No. 11 Washington State (5-0, 2-0) this Saturday.
“We’re not going to sit around and feel sorry for ourselves. Washington State, or anyone else, is not going to feel sorry for us. Next guy up, and go practice. Make sure we’re ready to play” Taggart said.
Center Jake Hansen said he spoke to Herbert after the game against Cal.
“I just kind of gave him a hug and said we were all here for him,” Hansen said.
Herbert has thrown for 1,264 yards and nine touchdowns with two interceptions this season. He’s also rushed for three scores.
The injury was to Herbert’s left, non-throwing, side. Taggart would not rule out his return this season.
Freeman had already run for 51 yards when he was injured, also in the opening quarter. The nature of the injury was not revealed.
Freeman has rushed for 592 yards and an NCAA-leading 10 touchdowns this season.
Mitchell was injured in a collision with a teammate on an early punt return. He returned to the game only to leave again.
Mitchell was the Ducks’ top receiver with 18 catches for 217 yards and two touchdowns going into the game. Oregon was already missing senior receiver Charles Nelson because of a right ankle sprain.
The nature of Alie’s injury was not known. If he is unable to go, the job would go to Burmeister, a freshman who enrolled early at Oregon. The Ducks also have freshman walk-on Mike Irwin on the roster at quarterback.
“I do think Braxton or Taylor or whomever we put in there can go in there and run our offense,” Taggart said.